Reaction to the Massacres of Civilians in Paris and elsewhere by ISIS

The following is a letter published in The Guardian newspaper in England on 24th November 2015 and signed by a range of academics across a number of different countries. It expresses concern at the response to the attacks in the West and calls for a more nuanced approach which attempts to provide people with security and protection but also attempts to address some of the causes of continuing and potentially escalating global conflict.

“We are shocked and greatly saddened by the murder of innocent people in Paris and by the pain inflicted on the friends and families of the victims. Our hearts also go out to the victims and their loved ones in Beirut. Both attacks were atrocities and we strongly condemn them.

We must also remember at this point that western interventions have killed or displaced millions across the world since 9/11 and the initiation of the “war on terror”. Remembrance of all the victims is essential.

It is also necessary for politicians, journalists and academics to address, without hesitation, the underlying causes of Isis attacks. Isis has developed in the context of a regional conflagration in the Middle East precipitated by the US invasion of Iraq. Western governments and their regional allies, including Saudi Arabia and Turkey, have, intentionally or unintentionally, fuelled and facilitated groups such as Isis. Serious examination of the role of these actors in giving rise to Isis and the disaster that is unfolding across the Middle East and Europe is of utmost importance. It is also clear that other states, such as Russia and Iran, are part of the broader geopolitical game currently playing out.

The greatest threat to our collective security at this point is simplistic and inaccurate representations, which explain these attacks as purely a product of “Islamic extremism” while ignoring the geopolitical context, of which we, the west, are an integral part. If we allow our political leaders to fall back on such misrepresentations, it will only serve to realise the objectives of those seeking to fuel hatred and violence. An emphasis on Muslim “extremism” and military responses will lead us to repeat the events of the last 15 years, which have borne witness to propaganda and manipulation on all sides, and, among many other events, two disastrous wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

After 15 years of the “war on terror” we are undoubtedly in much worse shape than we were back in 2001. There are multiple wars in process, civil liberties are being curtailed, the far right is on the rise, Islamophobia is widespread, and there is no end in sight to attacks such as those in Paris and Beirut. To break this cycle, we have a responsibility to look beyond polarised and simplistic (good v evil) frames and engage with the politics, policies and actions that are creating the current violence”.

Professor Noam Chomsky Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Professor Ruth Blakeley University of Kent
Professor Penny Green International State Crime Initiative, Queen Mary University of London
Professor Emanuela C Del Re Conflict studies and political phenomena of the Middle East, Roma Tre University
Professor John L Esposito Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal Center for Muslim-Christian Understanding, Georgetown University, Washington DC
Professor Natalie Fenton Media and communications, Goldsmiths College
Professor Des Freedman Media and communications, Goldsmiths College
Professor Jeff Goodwin Department of sociology, New York University
Professor Edward S Herman Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania
Professor Eric Herring University of Bristol
Professor Jenny Hocking National Centre for Australian Studies, Monash University
Professor Richard Jackson The National Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies, University of Otago
Professor Jeremy Keenan Soas University of London
Professor Geoff King Film and television studies, Brunel University
Professor Timo Kivimäki Department of politics, languages & international studies, University of Bath
Professor David Miller Social and policy sciences, University of Bath
Professor Julian Petley Department of media, Brunel University
Professor Scott Poynting University of Auckland
Professor David H Price Anthropology, Saint Martin’s University
Professor Francesco Ragazzi Institute of Political Science, University of Leiden
Professor Giles Scott-Smith History, University of Leiden
Professor Christopher Simpson Journalism & Communication, American University, Washington DC
Professor Mike Wayne Head of media, Brunel University
Associate Professor Irfan Ahmad Political anthropology, Australian Catholic University, Melbourne
Hilary Aked Social and policy sciences, University of Bath
Dr Matthew Alford University of Bath
Moazzam Begg Cage
Dr Vian Bakir Bangor University
Max Blumenthal Senior writer, AlterNet, Washington DC
Dr Emma L Briant Journalism studies, University of Sheffield
Remi Brulin Research fellow, History Department, New York University
Dr Justin Cruickshank POLSIS, University of Birmingham
Associate Professor Ana Cecilia Dinerstein University of Bath
Sarah Earnshaw Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich
Dr Esther Pascua Echegaray Associate professor, history, Universidad a Distancia de Madrid
Dr Phil Edwards Department of sociology, Manchester Metropolitan University
Dr Mastoueh Fathi Bournemouth University
Assistant Professor Muhammad Feyyaz University of Management and Technology, Lahore
Ciaran Gillespie Department of politics, University of Surrey
Dr Mark Hayes Solent University
Dr Emma Heywood School of humanities, Coventry University
Dr Rana Jawad Social and policy sciences, University of Bath
Dr Gholam Khiabany Department of media and communications, Goldsmiths College
Associate Professor Deepa Kumar Media studies, Rutgers University, New Brunswick
Dr Arun Kundnani Adjunct professor at New York University
Dr Thomas MacManus School of law, Queen Mary, University of London
Dr Abida Malik Sociology, University of Nottingham; research fellow, Claystone
Dr Sarah Marusek Researcher, Public Interest Investigations, UK
Amir Hamza Marwan Lecturer, Department of journalism and mass communication, University of Peshawar
Dr Narzanin Massoumi Social and policy sciences, University of Bath
Dr Tom Mills Social and policy sciences, University of Bath
Dr Aurélien Mondon Politics, languages and international studies, University of Bath
Assistant Professor Laura F de Mosteyrín Sociology, Universidad a Distancia de Madrid, Spain
Dr Anisa Mustafa University of Nottingham
Dr Féilim Ó hAdhmaill School of Applied Social Studies, University College Cork
Dr Fredrick Ogenga Director, Center for Media, Democracy, Peace and Security, Rongo University
Christina Pantazis School for social policy studies, University of Bristol
Ismail Patel Chairm Friends of Al-Aqsa; research student, University of Leeds
Asim Qureshi Research director, Cage
Dr Sam Raphael International relations, University of Westminster
Dr Piers Robinson University of Manchester
Cathrin Ruppe Lecturer, University of Applied Sciences, Münster
Dr Rizwaan Sabir Lecturer in Criminology, Liverpool John Moores University
Dr Amir Saeed Senior lecturer in journalism and media, Huddersfield University
Dr Gurchathen Sanghera University of St Andrews
Dr Katy Sian Lecturer, University of York
Dr Joshua Skoczylis University of Lincoln
Dr Cassian Sparkes-Vian
Dr Milly Williamson Department of media, Brunel University
Dr Emily Wykes School of sociology & social policy, University of Nottingham
Dr Kalina Yordanova Psychotherapist, Assistance Centre for Torture Survivors, Bulgaria
Dr Florian Zollmann Director of the Archbishop Desmond Tutu Centre for War and Peace Studies, Liverpool Hope University


About Féilim Ó hAdhmaill

Dr. Féilim Ó hAdhmaill is a Lecturer in Social Policy in the School of Applied Social Studies, University College Cork, Ireland. His subject areas are Comparative Social Policy; Conflict Transformation and Peace Building; Community Development and he is Programme Director for the Masters in Voluntary and Community Sector Management. University profile For information on the Masters in Voluntary and Community Sector Management He has a long background working in community and voluntary sector and as a political activist in the North of Ireland. He is a former republican prisoner who spent seven and a half years in prison. He was released from jail in August 2000 under the Good Friday Agreement. He has lectured in social policy at Queens University Belfast and Ulster University and have been a lecturer in University College Cork since 2006.
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